Recruitment Themes and Predictions for 2018 - Regulatory Change within the Sell Side

  • June 15, 2018

We take a look at what is driving recruitment activity in relation to regulatory change within sell side firms, and make some predictions for the rest of 2018.


2018 is proving to be a challenging time for sell side firms, as they face up to the uncertain challenge of Brexit whilst simultaneously navigating a myriad of potentially overlapping regulations.

What is driving change within the Sell Side?

There are a number of regulations affecting sell side firms that have either recently come into force or are approaching on the horizon, from MiFID II and GDPR to BRRD, SMCR and SFTR.

Alongside this, Brexit is an ever-looming presence over financial services, with its timeline overlapping that of the regulatory reforms. This overlapping of deliverables in increasing critical dependencies across differing complex programs of work, ultimately increasing the risk of failure.

Sell side firms are attempting to assess the operational impact of Brexit and prepare their new business models in response to its challenges, whilst operating in a state of uncertainty. In these politically uncertain times, firms need to prepare for the worst-case scenario of a hard Brexit and look at their licences, booking models, technology and resources.

Firms would be wise to take on board some of the lessons learned from MiFID II, and not leave it too late to prepare. Although there is much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, talented specialists are going to be in extremely high demand. As Brexit will cover all sector and not just Financial Services, the supply of experts will be even more stretched.

What skills and types of experts are in demand this year?

With a wide selection of major regulations requiring attention from sell side firms to achieve ongoing compliance, we expect experts whose experience overlaps across these regulations to be in high demand. Expert talent who can take a holistic view and understand the impacts of these various regulations, and the way they work alongside each other, will be particularly desirable for employers.

As firms continue to set up their Brexit programs, we are seeing demand for the following experts and related skill sets:

  • Project/Program Managers
    - Regulatory Change Delivery specialists
    - Stakeholder management and end to end program/project design and delivery
  • Business Analysts
    - Ability to conduct gap analysis on existing business models and overlay regulatory requirements, review existing legal entity structure, and the extent to which it will meet future requirements of the business and where change may be required
    - Design TOMS and identify options for updating entity structure
  • Legal and Compliance Specialists
    - Contract negotiations, jurisdictional framework review
    - Legal documentation review specialists
  • Operational Change Specialists
    - Agreeing process changes, booking models etc
    - Client re-papering
    - Running complex client outreaches
  • HR Professionals
    - Resource management and restructuring
  • Technology Professionals
    - Technology System Changes, software development

Experts who have touchpoints with European regulators, specifically Irish or German, will also be wanted as firms build their operations in the EU. On a somewhat related note, there will also be demand for those who have experience of setting up new premises or offices.

We are seeing demand for experts within our network who have proven experience in running multi-jurisdictional projects, with the ability to manage offshore teams, complex workstreams and navigate regulatory differences.

Finally, we are also being contacted by clients looking for change communication specialists, who can effectively communicate change strategies across all areas of their business.

What are FourthLine’s predictions for the rest of 2018?

Whilst there is undoubtedly a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, one thing we as a specialist recruiter can confidently predict is that there will be a huge demand for Brexit specialists, and that they will come at a premium cost. If your firm hasn’t already started preparing your Brexit program, we would advise you get in touch with FourthLine as soon as possible so we can connect you with the expert talent you need from within our extensive network. There is going to be a real stretch of resources, and not acting now could run the ultimate risk of firms not being able to do business following Brexit.

The nature of Brexit’s requirements mean that we could see different organisations trying to do similar activities at the same time, potentially leading to regulatory congestion and processing delay. We anticipate some Financial Services firms will need to recruit from outside of Financial Services to find the talent they need, whilst conversely the cross-industry nature of Brexit could see non-Financial Services industries leveraging experienced talent from Financial Services. This could further reduce the size of the available resource pool.

Under pressure to meet the challenges of overlapping regulations and Brexit, smaller firms may struggle to mobilise in time. We expect that as a result, we may see the merger of smaller brokerages so that they can stay competitive whilst also compliant.  

If you’d like to find out more about any of the above points or discuss your recruitment requirements, get in touch with our Sell Side Regulatory Change team today.




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